10 Common Layout Plan Errors

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If your budget or DIY spirit is such that you do go ahead without expert design help (www.modernfamilykitchens.com), here are some tips to help you avoid costly errors:

The IKEA planner tool is a way to get a general idea of your kitchen layout, and the cost of the cabinets in that layout. It is very limited insofar as what, how, and where it will allow you to place cabinets. It will not allow you any customizations, which, for many kitchens, are the key to a beautiful finished appearance.


Kitchen design is a skilled and creative application of established kitchen design principles. It eliminates plan errors and solves issues optimally. The result is a beautiful, functional kitchen with a harmonious configuration of necessary and desirable items. If you are winging it, doing your own layout, watch out for these common errors that can create problems during installation, and after.





1) Check, double check, and triple check measurements. Ceiling height is crucial to many layouts. It can vary from one side of a room to another. Don't assume the width of one wall or window is necessarily the same as another.

2) Make sure to plan for door swing on your fridge, oven and for pull out clearance on drawers and pantries. Take into account the handles you will use on your new cabinets. Check the door swing on the doors leading into the kitchen.

3) Window and door frames also have to be measured and accounted for.

4) IKEA cabinet frames are not meant to be exposed. This means that at the end of any row, a cover panel will be needed. Take the thickness of those panels into account in your plan.

5) An island or a peninsula will need large panels or cover panels for the back side. Often, a large panel is cut down to fit. Try to work it out so that any seams will be aligned or centered or both.

6) Traditionally, sinks are centered under windows. Homeowners often lay out the entire kitchen around this one placement and run into half a dozen problems as a result. Consider various sink sizes, and small amounts of filler. Filler is material like your cabinet doors that is used to fill in gaps, small ones, between cabinets. Cutting and installing filler so that it looks beautiful is one of the challenges of cabinet installation. When you need to use some, try not to use wide sections or a lot of filler, generally. If you have a 3 inch gap, use 1.5 inches on either side of a cabinet or appliance.

7) Use corner storage options. Sometimes it can seem as if a base corner cabinet just won't fit. This is just one instance in which you call in a pro designer. Making use of corners, unless your kitchen is huge and you have loads and loads of other storage, is vital.  Wall corners have several options other than wall corner cabinets.

8) Consider the future homebuyer when planning the kitchen. Even if you plan to stay in the house for awhile. The investment you make now in a great kitchen will pay you back later. Kitchens sell homes. Don't skimp on something now that will, in a home sale, turn into $10,000 or more in the purchase price. (A top reason to invest in expert design). A mediocre kitchen layout, which could have been a great one, can cost you $30,000 on a home sale.

9) Consider the future insofar as young children, multiple cooks, short people, tall people.

10) Consider safety. Along with code requirements, there are important safety issues in appliance and sink placement. Don't inadvertently design a hazardous kitchen.

Kitchen plans need to consider these and many other issues. Kitchen design has established, proven principles. If you are doing your own layout, do some research and reading. When your kitchen is done, you want a beautiful, safe, optimally functional space for your family and friends to gather in, work in, and cook in, and enjoy.

If you'd like to discuss your project with me, I can offer you a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Here's my calendar, just pick a time that works for you.

Susan